28 May 2013

Michael Johansson: Familiar Abstractions

Familiar Abstractions
Michael Johansson (S)
Vigeland-museet, Oslo

After seeing Johansson's work in Stavanger in 2008 he has been one of my favourite artists. He blocked the entrance door of the tiny gallery 21m3 with various items, perfectly fit into a puzzle exciting seen from both sides.

He takes it one step further in the majestic Vigeland museum in Oslo. From the storage rooms in the large museum he has picked items and fit them together. One of the entrance arches has thus become blocked, as well as one of the doorways inside the museum. Where you can otherwise walk around the whole courtyard inside the museum, you can now only get half way. One doorway is blocked, and the appearance seems totally different from each side of it. You may either run back and forth through the museum to check if it is the same items from both sides. Or you can cheat as I did, to photograph one side and compare it to the other side.

Michael Johansson: Monument

I end up just standing there recognizing objects and admiring how well they fit.

Michael Johansson: Monument

Michael Johansson: Dawn + Tetris - Vigeland-museet
Dawn + Tetris - Vigeland-museet

But there is more. Freestanding cubes consisting of objects similar in colour, and a large cubical monument made of wooden cupboards. The arrangement is at the samt time reducing the objects to a part of the puzzle, and displaying each object as something important. Had they just been stuffed away somewhere or left in a corner, I would never have noticed that cupboard, vacuum cleaner, typewriter or briefcase. Now I notice them.

Michael Johansson: Firehundre nyanser av brunt II
Firehundre nyanser av brunt II

These installations give me an urge to play tetris, or to start puzzling objects together. For our enjoyment Johansson offer us puzzles to finish. At least in our minds.

Just like the childhood plastic model car or airplane, with all parts hanging together in a plastic grid, he makes full size furniture. All items needed are there, you only need to release them from the grid. As they are made of metal that would be quite challenging, so you must do the separation and refitting of parts in your mind. In this way perfectly ordinary objects become quite interesting, and the assembly set package is a sculpture itself.

Michael Johansson: Foldable Ladder Assembly Kit + Some Assembly Required - Bunk Bed + Kitchen Assembly
Foldable Ladder Assembly Kit + Some Assembly Required - Bunk Bed + Kitchen Assembly